- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2008

Studio Theatre these days is in the pink — and was quite literally on Saturday at a 30th-anniversary gala featuring a pink-carpeted sidewalk entrance and a cast of theatrical characters in extravagant 18th-century dress.

“Let us eat cake” was the rightful theme for the event, celebrating the history of a pioneering drama organization that began life in shared space just a few blocks away with an all-volunteer staff. Then as now, founding Artistic DirectorJoy Zinoman provided much of the electricity. “It seems about 30 minutes ago,” she exulted in after-dinner remarks to an enthusiastic crowd of patrons and friends.

About 500 patrons thronged the multistoried, multifaceted gala in its 14th and P Street Northwest home for an occasion that was all about honoring past successes and toasting present-day fame. With tickets priced at $400, atop other contributions, the gala was Studio’s most successful fundraiser to date.

Channeling Marie Antoinette was no trick for Ms. Zinoman, at least for one night, even if she stayed with a pair of fancy pink jackets rather than donning a cumbersome ball gown. Champagne flowed, and caviar was dished as promised, including a red dollop in the chervil soup with creme fraiche. Diners also were served calorie-laden blue-cheese torte, breast of pheasant and wild boar on three of the institution’s four stages, where tiny pink layer-cake desserts matched large fake-cake centerpieces. Thirty stage-prop candles and sparklers appeared at the evening’s end.

It must have given her much joy to declare during one of the two special after-dinner shows featuring some favorite numbers and people from past productions that “we’re artists, but I’m proud to say we make money.”

“I’ve been stimulated here like nowhere else,” reminisced Shakespeare Theatre actor Edward Gero, who has appeared five times on Studio stages. He well might have spoken for many in attendance. Ms. Zinoman’s daughter Amanda created a film for the occasion, and celebrants carried home a hardcover book of black-and-white photos — images of all the past seasons’ many triumphs.

Ann Geracimos

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